DA congratulates Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse on her Mayoral Committee

The Democratic Alliance is delighted to announce the Mayoral Committee (MayCo) for the City of Johannesburg.

Mayor Mpho Phalatse announced the following group of councillors to her MayCo:

MMC for Finance- Cllr Julie Suddaby (Democratic Alliance)
MMC for Group Corporate and Shared Services- Cllr Leah Knott (Democratic Alliance)
MMC for Transport- Cllr Funzela Ngobeni (Action SA)
MMC for Development Planning- Cllr Belinda Echeozonjoku (Democratic Alliance)
MMC for Housing- Cllr Mlungisi Providence Mabaso (Inkatha Freedom Party)
MMC for Economic Development – Cllr Nkuli Mbundu (Action SA)
MMC for Health and Social Development- Cllr Franco De Lange (Freedom Front Plus)
MMC for Community Development- Cllr Ronald Winston Harris (African Christian Democratic Party)
MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Service Delivery- Cllr Michael Sun (Democratic Alliance)
MMC for Public Safety – Cllr David Thembe (Action SA)

While success will not be achieved overnight, we know that Mayor Phalatse and her team are more than capable of turning things around and restoring the shine to the city of gold.

The DA wishes Mayor Phalatse and her team all the best as they work towards restoring service delivery and getting things done for the residents of Johannesburg.

DA welcomes Ekurhuleni mayoral committee

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the announcement of the City of Ekurhuleni’s mayoral committee.

The multi-party committee follows weeks of negotiations between political parties to bring a stable government to the City of Ekurhuleni.

Mayor Tania Campbell announced the following dynamic group of councillors to her mayoral committee:

  • MMC for Finance, Information Communication Technology and Economic Development – Graham Gersbach (Democratic Alliance)
  • MMC for Health and Social Development – Announcement pending (Action SA)
  • MMC for Transport Planning – Alco Ngobese (Inkatha Freedom Party)
  • MMC for Water, Sanitation and Energy – Senzi Sibeko (Democratic Alliance)
  • MMC for Infrastructure Services – Themba Kalipa (Congress of the People)
  • MMC for Corporate and Shared Services – Ruhan Robinson (Democratic Alliance)
  • MMC for Human Settlements – Mabekenyane Thamahane (Democratic Alliance)
  • MMC for City Planning – Heather Hart (Democratic Alliance)
  • MMC for Environment and Waste Management – Andre du Plessis (Democratic Alliance)
  • MMC for Community Safety – Announcement pending (Action SA)

As Mayor Campbell said in her inaugural speech – no more empty promises, it is time to get things done in Ekurhuleni.

We trust that her team will work hard to restore and fast track service delivery, remove the rot that hinders the progress and delivery of housing projects and infrastructure development.

The DA is delighted that the people of Ekurhuleni will experience what a capable coalition government can do, focussed on clean governance and excellent service delivery.

The DA wishes Mayor Campbell and her team all the best, and although success will not be achieved overnight, we believe that they are more than capable to deal with the task ahead and will get things done.

DA Debate Speeches: 2021 MTBPS

The following speeches will be delivered in Parliament today during the debate and vote on the 2021 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement.

Ashor Sarupen MP – For Recovery, South Africa Needs Growth – Our Current Fiscal Path Offers Neither 
DA Member of the Appropriations Committee
067 729 2412

Benedicta Van Minnen MP – DA provides clear blueprint to get national debt under control 
DA Member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts
084 441 9000

Defeat of the populist EWC bill another sign SA is fighting back

This has been a historic week for South Africa as the ANC’s attempt to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation was defeated in Parliament.

The DA and many other political parties and civil society groups fought hard for this outcome. It ends three and a half years of uncertainty around secure property rights, which experience the world over shows are an essential pre-condition for economic growth and prosperity.

This bill was a populist move to scapegoat the Constitution and distract from the real impediments to land reform, which are inadequate legislation, lack of budget, lack of political will, lack of capacity, tenure insecurity, lack of support for emerging farmers, corruption, and capture by politically connected elites, as identified in Former President Kgalema Motlanthe’s High Level Panel Report of 2017.

We can and must achieve meaningful land reform in South Africa. But it requires recognizing and overcoming these real obstacles. It is to this that we must now turn our focus. We will certainly never achieve it by changing our Constitution and destroying our economy.

The DA is committed to building an inclusive society. We believe the outcome of the equally historic local government election in November provides a pathway out of ANC dominance and towards a national coalition government able to start tackling these and other impediments to building a South Africa that truly is a country for all.

These bright rays of hope come at the end of another exceptionally tough year for South Africans, during which broad unemployment has grown to a record 46.6% while the economy has contacted by 1.5% in the past three months.

While the pandemic, including the recent travel bans, has dealt a major blow, our pain is mostly ANC-inflicted, and much of it could have been avoided had the DA been in national government.

From as early as April last year, the DA warned against lockdown as a response to the pandemic, arguing it would do more harm than good. Instead, we proposed more targeted interventions and decentralised decision-making, and pushed early and hard for vaccines. Our position has been entirely vindicated, with President Ramaphosa finally admitting last month that lockdowns are irrational and unaffordable.

We have also consistently fought for the economic reforms that could pull millions out of poverty and into jobs.

Our objectives in 2022 and over the next 1000 days until the 2024 election are threefold.

Where we are in government, deliver on our manifesto pledges and turn the places we govern into shining examples of good governance. (On that note, I can report that the DA-run Western Cape’s was the only provincial health department to achieve a clean audit this year.)

In opposition, continue to challenge harmful policies such as EWC, expose and fight corruption, and champion reform.

Internally, strengthen our branch network so that we can best hold our local public representatives accountable, train and capacitate activists, and attract talented, committed individuals to the party as we work towards the 2024 national election.

For now, on behalf of the DA, I wish everyone in this beautiful country a healthy and peaceful festive season.

DA to request ministerial investigation into sexual abuse allegations at sports federations

Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Veronica van Dyk MP

The DA will write to the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, to request an independent investigation into all the allegations of sexual abuse at the various sporting federations as a matter of urgency.

This after Swimming South Africa (SSA) and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) gave less than satisfactory answers to the parliamentary portfolio committee on sports, arts and culture during a meeting this week.

The floodgates have opened and more and more allegations of sexual abuse at various sporting federations are coming to light. It seems clear that too many sports federations in South Africa do not offer sufficient support for victims of sexual abuse.

The only way to address this growing problem is a high level investigation by an independent body with significant consequences for both the perpetrators of sexual abuse and those who are found wanting in disciplining the predators and protecting the victims. An independent investigative body would also encourage more victims to speak out about their abuse. Vague excuses and refusal to answer questions critical for oversight should also be punished. Such behaviour shows a callousness towards the millions of victims of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in South Africa.

As we come to the end of the 16 Days of Activism against GBV, it is of utmost importance that tangible action be taken against everyone involved – those found guilty of abuse and everyone who hampered disciplinary action.

South African athletes cannot continue to be placed in harms’ way for the possibility of winning medals. The mental and physical health of the athletes must become the top priority.

The Minister who stole Christmas

Please find an attached soundbite by Samantha Graham-Maré MP

It seems that this year the Grinch can step aside as Minister Patricia De Lille takes “grinchness” to a whole new level.

SAPS members residing in secure and safe houses in Cape Town were advised that they must vacate their homes by 31 December 2021 as a market-related rental of triple their existing payments will be instituted from 1 January 2022.

The residents of these houses are not mere tenants, but are members of SAPS who have been moved to these houses to protect them and their families as remaining in their own communities would place them in danger. This danger being as a direct result of their work to keep us safe.

The rental increases follow an assessment conducted by Minister De Lille’s Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to determine market-related rentals on these properties.

While it is certainly long overdue that the DPWI begin to take their role as government landlord seriously and demonstrate more of a financially sound approach to their business, this is not where they should be starting. Housing that is provided to SAPS members whose lives are under threat from gangsters can never be valued using the same methodology as that for an ordinary citizen on the open market.

The SAPS Housing Policy No 3 of 2016 provides that official housing is allocated based on a 3 year cycle, which now expires on 31 December 2021.  Some of the members facing eviction have only had the benefit for 2 years or less. Around 50 families have appealed their evictions and the increase in rent but their appeals were dismissed without any reasons being provided. And they are now faced with moving back to their dangerous environments or paying, in some instances, more in rent than what they earn.  And, whatever is short from their salaries can be drawn from their pensions, so the government will not be out of pocket.

The SAPS Housing Policy is very clear that priority will be given to those with ranks below Lieutenant-Colonel.  How is it possible that where this is the target market, the Department of Public Works can determine a market-related value that exceeds the take home pay of some of the beneficiaries?

These properties are for the sole use of SAPS for official housing.  They are not available on the open market and should not be treated as such. On 1 January 2022, families of our police officers are going to face threats to their lives or financial ruin because Minister De Lille’s Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has suddenly embraced the idea of capitalism.

Minister De Lille needs to urgently address the lack of a coherent policy on leasing with her Department in order to prevent this kind of tone deaf and ill-conceived administrative bungling.  The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure must start to serve the citizens of this country and not just the client departments.

DoH should re-evaluate community service mandate as 5000 doctors remain unplaced 

Please find an attached soundbite by Haseena Ismail MP 

The DA calls on the Department of Health (DoH) to re-evaluate its community service mandate to provide an alternative to medical graduates who are not being placed due to the Department’s shortcomings.

At a time when our healthcare system is in dire need of capacity due to the Covid pandemic, recent reports highlight that over 5000 medical graduates have still not been placed in their community service posts, either due to a lack of funds or a lack of posts. It is incredulous that in light of the chronic challenges of long queues, lack of medical professionals as well as the pandemic, that there is “a lack of posts” to fill for graduate doctors.

It is a legal requirement for a variety of medical professions to do community service upon registering for the first time with their professional councils. To fully qualify and to be allowed to practice independently, a doctor in South Africa must complete one year of community service.

The placement cycle begins in January or July. We are now in December with 5000 junior doctors still left in the dark. In many cases doctors complete their studies in January and only get placed 6 months later.

The aim of community service is to improve access to quality healthcare to all South Africans, especially in previously under-served areas. The mandate is a noble one but the DoH must do everything in its power to:

  • Solve chronic problems in its placement system both technical and operational.
  • Make provisions for graduate doctors to get permission to practice, under the guidance of supervisors, in any facility until they can formally be placed for community service. And for those facilities to submit reports to the DoH on interns’ performance.
  • To address the post shortage, DoH must consider requesting that the HPCSA accredit more internship posts, for provinces to make more community service positions open.
  • In order to accommodate the additional posts, the DoH should request National Treasury to provide additional funding to cover these needs in the short term.

The DOH’s consistent failure to place graduate doctors over the years have stifled the career opportunities of many young doctors and their access to new job opportunities. The government must do everything in its power to get junior doctors into the field as we need them now more than ever.

Are South Africans paying more for electricity to fund Eskom’s expensive diesel burning?

Please find attached soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

Electricity prices for South Africans have skyrocketed over the years and this is set to continue as Eskom applies for yet more tariff hikes. The question is how much of this is due to an inability to maintain the baseload supply resulting in diesel is increasingly used to meet demand.

Eskom’s Chief Financial Officer, Calib Cassim, recently admitted that Eskom spent more than R1 billion in the month of November alone to power emergency generators. With aging power plants, frequent maintenance requirements and sabotage, it is highly likely that Eskom will be burning billion diesel to keep the lights on for the foreseeable future.

This is patently unsustainable and it is unconscionable that Eskom transfers the diesel burning cost to overburdened consumers through high electricity tariffs on an apparently unending basis. According to the National Energy Regulator’s (NERSA) timelines to process Eskom’s fifth multi-year price determination revenue application, Eskom’s tariff application will see the entity generate revenues amounting to R279 billion, R335 billion and R365 billion in the 2022/23, 2023/24, 2024/25 financial years respectively.

With such high revenue projections, it is imperative that Eskom provides a breakdown of the amounts that have been earmarked for diesel to power generators and whether it thinks it is ethical for the entity to transfer such a cost to consumers. Moreover, a transparent timeline that details projected shortfalls and the measures required to mitigate these must be produced for all to see so that carefully costed solutions can be found with the involvement of the private sector. Additionally and importantly, it would be useful to know the cost of diesel supplied to Eskom, the source of this supply and the differential to market prices.

At current electricity prices, the majority of South Africans are struggling to afford keep lights on in their homes. Eskom’s current actions and trajectory will result in restricting access to electricity to an elite while shutting out the poor who are already facing the brunt of high unemployment and the rising cost of living. Let’s not forget that the utility’s mandate is to provide affordable and available electricity.

The public mudslinging between Eskom and NERSA over the former’s revenue application is just a sideshow that should not distract from the burgeoning cost implications on consumers. An ethical conversation about future supply, costs and plans to make electricity both affordable and available together with the ministry of Energy is long overdue. We need a permanent and independent Electricity Commission to oversee this.

In the interim Eskom should be spearheading the drive to procure electricity from Independent Power Producers to lower the cost burden of electricity at the point of sale.

Increase of irregular expenditure to R167 billion an indictment to Ramaphosa’s failed New Dawn 

Please find an attached soundbite by Natasha Mazzone MP

The increase of irregular expenditure by 34% to R167 billion, in national and provincial government departments, is the clearest evidence yet that Ramaphosa’s promise of a new dawn has failed to deal with financial malfeasance in government and across State Owned Enterprises.

We now call on the Auditor General (A-G) to use her powers, as contained in the Public Audit Act, to hold offending parties to account by ensuring that there is clear and transparent consequence management. The Act now gives the A-G power to enforce the implementation of recommendations arising from audit outcomes.

According to the audit outcomes released by the A-G, irregular expenditure at national and provincial level increased from R110 billion in the 2019-2020 financial year to R167 billion in the 2020-2021 financial year. That this 34% increase has largely been driven by irregular spending by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, confirms the escalating corporate governance crisis currently besetting this entity.

Unless a concerted effort is made to appoint competent professionals and implement a sound turnaround strategy, there is a real risk that NSFAS will plunge the Higher Education sector into chaos.

At his inauguration in 2018, Ramaphosa made ‘Clean Governance and an Intensified Anti-corruption drive’, one of the pillars of his new dawn promise. 3 years down the line, the A-G’s report gives him an ‘F’ on this metric, specifically stating that:

  • Non-compliance with procurement and contract management;
  • High incidence of poor quality financial statements;
  • Lack of consequence management for offending parties;
  • Poor quality infrastructure and maintenance throughput; and
  • Pervasive mismanagement/leakage of public funds without consequences.

The perilous state of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) was made clear when the A-G revealed that, of the 17 SOEs audited, the financial health for 76% of these SOEs was ‘Of Concern’ while 15% required an intervention.

This negative state of affairs in SOEs underlines the empty promises made by Ramaphosa to turn around SOEs. Unless public-private partnerships are implemented, the ANC government’s intransigence will continue to place the fiscus in a perilous position as they resort to bailouts to keep these SOEs afloat.

As always, the Western Cape has retained its position as the Province with the highest number of clean audits. With 15 Departments getting a clean bill of financial health, the DA’s commitment to residents in the Western Cape to run clean governments remains intact. The DA difference is the enduring promise that will save South Africa from the destruction wrought by ANC corruption and bad governance.

Mislukking om Artikel 25 Wysigingswetsontwerp deur te voer ’n oorwinning vir Suid-Afrika se grondwetlike bestel

Die mislukking van die ANC om ’n tweederde meerderheid te verenig om die 18de Wetsontwerp te wysig, wat sou lei tot die wysiging van Artikel 25 van die Grondwet om grondonteiening sonder vergoeding toe te laat, is ’n oorwinning vir Suid-Afrika se Grondwetlike bestel.

In ooreenstemming met die uitslag van die komitee in September, waar DA-lede in die Artikel 25 Ad Hoc-komitee eenparig gestem het om die ANC se mosie te verwerp, het die DA-koukus in die Nasionale Vergadering uit een mond gepraat en gestem om hierdie rampspoedige stuk wetgewing die nekslag toe te dien.

Vandag se uitkoms was ’n hoogtepunt van drie vermorste jare waarin die Parlement die wetsontwerp moes verwerk terwyl ernstige kwessies geopper is oor die impak daarvan op die ekonomie, die oppergesag van die reg en voedselsekerheid. Die ANC het van hierdie gevare geweet – vandaar hul onwrikbare weiering om toe te laat dat ’n ekonomiese impakstudie gedoen word.

Ons het lankal betoog teen die noodsaaklikheid om Artikel 25 van die Grondwet te wysig omdat dit in sy huidige vorm reeds genoeg bepalings het om ’n regverdige en billike grondhervormingsproses moontlik te maak.
Sedert sy stigting op 6 Desember 2018, was die Artikel 25 Ad Hoc-komitee net ’n politieke teater vir botsende ANC-faksies en die radikale fantasieë van die EFF. In hul haastige poging om grondonteiening sonder vergoeding en nasionalisering van grond na te streef, het die twee partye hul minagting vir die Grondwet en onvervreembare eiendomsreg van alle Suid-Afrikaners blootgelê.

Die DA het nog altyd aangevoer dat hierdie wetsontwerp nooit na die parlement verwys moes word nie, aangesien dit niks help om grondlose Suid-Afrikaners te help wat deur die ANC se mislukte grondhervormingsprogram in die steek gelaat is nie.

As’t ware het die ANC en die EFF tyd gemors op ’n proses wat nooit die grondkwessie vir grondlose Suid-Afrikaners gaan aanspreek nie. Vir al die jare wat die komitee bestee het om die eiendomsreg van Suid-Afrikaners weg te neem en alle grond te nasionaliseer, moes fokus eerder geskuif het na toegang tot staatsgrond, die verbetering van verblyfsekerheid en die verskaffing van ondersteuning aan opkomende boere.

President Cyril Ramaphosa se herhaalde bewering dat Artikel 25 van die Grondwet gewysig kan word sonder om die ekonomie en voedselsekerheid te beïnvloed, was misleidend. In Venezuela en Zimbabwe het die getorring aan eiendomsreg hul ekonomieë in duie laat stort, gelei tot wydverspreide hongersnood en gelei tot grootskaalse uittog van kapitaal.

Wat Suid-Afrika nodig het, is ’n pragmatiese en rasionele benadering wat binne die grense van huidige grondwetlike bepalings oor grondhervorming sal funksioneer. Nasionalisering van grond en die uitsluiting van die howe om grondonteieningsake te besleg, soos voorgestel deur die ANC en die EFF, sou die oppergesag van die reg ondermyn en Suid-Afrika tot ’n ekonomiese dorsland verminder het.